Sukanya Kumar is an Indian Classical Dance exponent in Bharatanatyam and Kathak. She has performed in many prestigious Indian and International venues, both as a solo performer and in collaboration.
Her credentials include 25th Spirit of Youth ‘Best Dancer Award’ from The Music Academy Madras (2013), ‘Best Dancer’ from Indian Fine Arts Society (2014), ‘Artistic Excellence’ from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha (2015) and titles like the ‘Natya Chudar’ from Kartik Fine Arts (2015), ‘Yuva Kala Bharathi’ (All Rounder award) from Bharat Kalachar (2016) and ‘Natya Ratna’ (2017) to name a few.
She is a recipient of Scholarships from Centre for Cultural Resources and Training, Human Resource Development Ministry, India and the National Level Senior Scholarship for Bharatanatyam from Ministry of Culture, New Delhi, India.
A graded artiste for the Indian National television ‘Doordarshan’ in both Bharatanatyam and Kathak genres, she is accomplished in allied arts like Dance Yoga, Kalaripayattu, and Indian Classical music both vocal and percussion.
Sukanya is a Creative Culturist, choreographer, a competent writer, theatre artiste, and event architect. She is skilled in applying technology using electronic media and is currently researching in the field of Indian Classical Dance and Technology at UCI and is a recepient of fellowship from Institute of 21Century Creativity.
She is academically qualified with B.Sc in Electronic Media, MFA in Bharatanatyam, Madhyama Purna in Kathak and MBA in Educational Management.
She has been teaching and training students for a decade and has also worked with children having special needs using Holistic Development through Arts and rhythm therapy.
Rahis Ahmed Khan has been singing since the age of 8. He was trained in Vocal and Taals from his father, Ustad Aziz Khan who was a member of All India Radio, Udaipur, Rajasthan. With his formidable musical training behind him and a natural gift and talent of capitvating audiences with his charisma and emotions, Rahis has dedicated his life to music for the past 25 years. He has crossed into many other World Music Genres such as Jazz, Pop and Classical Western Music in addition to being a luminary in Traditional Hindustani Music.He has recorded over four studio albums of Indian Ghazals and Songs in which he has composed and arranged various materials for himself and other artists. Additionally, in the last decade he has performed on stage with Indian Music Luminaries such as Ghulam Ali, Mehdni Hassan, Anup Jalota, Tari Khan and Ustad Rais Khan. He is the Founder of and runs Rahis Khan School of Music in Southern California and teaches students of all ages and ability levels in Singing, Tabla & Harmonium. In addition to teaching he travels the globe for musical workshops and concert performances. He has become a notable figure in the Afghan community worldwide due to his support of their artists and his own live performances on Afghan Televisions and appearances on talk shows. With his schedule of performing, teaching, composing and arranging, Rahis is able to carry out day by day his passion of spreading the cultural arts of traditional Hindustani Music to people of all walks of life.
Ahaana is honored to partner with and receive generous support for Launch of The SWANS Initiative from Rahis Ahmed Khan.
Nilanjana Banerjee, Artistic Directer
Known for her grace and expressions, Meenal is an avid performer and a versatile choreographer. She began learning Kathak at the age of 7 under the tutelage of Guru Shri Suresh Dharmadhikari in Jaipur Gharana style of Kathak. She completed Visharad in Dance from Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwavidyalaya (Khairagarh University) graduating at the top of her class and securing a Gold Medal. Since 2013 she has been pursuing advanced training under the tutelage of Guru Shambhavi Dandekar of Banares Gharana.
Meenal’s dance shows a beautiful blend of the grace of Banares and vibrant energy of Jaipur Gharana. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Meenal’s Academy of Performing Arts and enjoys sharing her passion and love for Kathak with students of all age groups. Previously, Meenal was the co-founder and Artistic Director at Rhythm Studios, San Diego.
In addition to being a Dancer, she is also an orator, actor and compere. She has been involved with Drama and Theatre from her childhood days and continues to do that even today. Meenal holds a Master of Science in Business Administration from San Diego State Univ. and Masters of Business Economics from DAVV, Indore India. After enjoying a successful corporate career for 10+ years, Meenal is now completely dedicated to pursuing her passion.
Sibasish Das (violin) and Anindita Sarkar (Sitar)
About Sibasish Das
Sibasish was exposed to Hindustani classical music at an early age, and started taking lessons on the Violin from Shri Dilip Sen. He is currently training under the renowned Sitar player, Pt Debiprasad Chatterjee. He has performed solo, in jugalbandis and as accompaniment to vocalists.
When not playing the Violin, Sibasish likes solving electrical engineering problems and designing cellphone technology. After completing is PhD, he moved to San Diego to work at Qualcomm.
About Anindita Sarkar
Mesmerized by its unique complex sound, Anindita was drawn to playing the sitar at an early age. She started training on the sitar in Hindustani Classical music at the age of seven with Shri Rupendra Kumar Sharma. She earned her diploma in music (Vid) from Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwavidyala, Khairagarh, India in instrumental Hindustani classical music, securing the second rank amongst all students nationwide.
At present, she is training under the tutelage of Pt. Debiprasad Chatterjee. Her repertoire spans solo performances, jugalbandi with other instrumentalists and accompanying vocalists on various stages.
Tabla artist Rahul Soparkar, accompanying Sibashish and Anindita as well as Meenal.
Rahul started learning tabla at the Ustad Allarakha Institute of Music in Mumbai.
Currently he is learning the nuances of the Punjab Gharana Tabla from virtuoso Shri Aditya Kalyanpur.
Apart from pursuing his passion as a tabla artist he works as a Firmware Engineer for an fast growing semiconductor Company Maxliner Inc in Carlsbad, CA.
Nilanjana Banerjee is a professional solo artist specializing in Odissi. For over a decade, she has performed across the country as a solo opening act for top Indian artists at major conventions, festivals, fundraisers and charity events. Nilanjana follows the Mahari dance tradition of Guru Muralidhar Majhi & Guru Mitra Purkayastha.
She currently runs RDM Studio in Carlsbad training a new generation of Odissi dancers.
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My commitment to Ahaana
I have been with SAWEN since its launch two years back. This core unit of Ahaana has been my lifeline helping me meet like-minded women through business and social networking. As a board member I have been involved in planning, executing & publicizing various events. It has become an integral part of my life. During the Ahaana festival, I progressed from an audience member to a featured artist in the artist focus segment , as well as a sponsor and emcee for 2017 YKB.
I believe Ahaana is a beacon of life & new energy for the South Asian community giving both men & women a voice to raise socially taboo topics at YKB & MenOlogues and enabling the community to draw closer. Through Ahaana, I have found immense joy and satisfaction in giving back and contributing to society in a meaningful, positive way.
Founder and Artistic Director